Barnes rebounds ‘in the clutch'

Marcus Barnes might as well have been on a roller coaster ride as he went up and down, up and down. Barnes experienced plenty of highs and lows during Miami's 76-69 double overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers several nights ago. Barnes only connected on three of the 11 shots he put up; he struggled from the free thrown line hitting two of them all night; he had just three points after playing almost the entire half.

But he probably won't mind going for another ride if the final result is as rewarding.

Barnes, the Hurricanes starting shooting guard, buried a critical three-pointer from the wing to give Miami a four-point lead with 3:07 remaining in the second extra period of the evening and paving the way for the Hurricanes. Barnes third and final three-pointer of the game came after the Panthers had narrowed the Miami back to one

"Marcus has tremendous confidence in his abilities," said University of Miami head coach Perry Clark. "The thing about him is that sometimes he can do many things, but I'm always pushing him to do more."

Barnes' defensive work on Panthers' star guard Brandin Knight was also a major factor in the Hurricanes ability to come back after trailing early in the second half. Barnes held Knight to just five points on 1-of-10 shooting from the floor including one three-pointer. Knight came into the game leading the Panthers in scoring and had led the team in scoring in 10 previous games.

"I've told Marcus that he doesn't always have to identify his success in a game by his shooting ability," Clark said. "What he did on defense proved what he can do in other areas of his game."

It was Barnes who stepped to the line in the first overtime with 01.3 seconds and missed two free throws that would have likely given Miami the victory. Although Clark called a questionable timeout between Barnes' free throws, the sophomore said he wasn't rattled. In fact, Barnes had nailed two free throws in the first overtime to give Miami a 64-62 lead at the 3:04 mark.

"I wasn't tight, I was just try to put it up there nice and slow," said Barnes. "I knew if I hit those free-throws, the game was over. I just tried to forget it."

Despite connecting on one field goal on six attempts from the field in 18 minutes in the first half, Barnes was right back in the middle of a Hurricanes rally that shifted momentum to the Miami bench.

After missing on the front end of a one-on-one from the line with 3:29 left in regulation, Barnes brought the Hurricanes all the way back with a three-pointer that tied the game 58-58 at the 2:03 mark.

"We're from Miami High. We just keep launching them," said Barnes, who led the county in scoring and made the All-Dade First Team as a senior at Miami Senior High.

And Barnes did exactly that with his three-pointer in the second overtime that the Panthers never recovered from. The 6-2, 203-pounder only hopes this is the beginning of having his number called with the game on the line although it isn't new territory for him. Barnes hit a three-pointer with under a minute to play just last month to unlock a tie game and give the Hurricanes a win over LSU.

"I love taking those shots, that's one of the reasons you play this game," said Barnes said. "There is nothing like being in the middle of things with the game of the line."

Barnes leads the Hurricanes in double-figure scoring games with 15, including his 11 against Pittsburgh, and is one of five starters to average in double-figures for the season (12.4). Barnes scored a season-high 19 points against Alabama-Birmingham back in November.

As a freshman last year, Barnes came off the bench to rank fourth on team with a 7.2 points per game average. Barnes scored in double-figures in eight of the final 18 games of the season. "Whoever we play has to account for Marcus, he's proven time and time again he can hit shots," said Clark.

Big ones.

Canes Time Top Stories